MOGADISHU — Somali forces aided by AMISOM troops raided a Quran education center in northern Mogadishu’s Waharade neighbourhood on Thursday where they discovered chained up children.

The government troops said the center was part of a larger network belonging to Al Qaida and Al Shabab — Somalia’s most prominent militant group. They added the students, all below the age of 10, were being taught extreme version of Islam and suicide bombing materials.

All of the kids had their two legs chained together without the knowledge of their parents or relatives. All them slept at the center which operated like a boarding school in similar fashion to many normal Quranic centers dotted across the Horn of Africa nation.

When the forces questioned the teacher, said to be a member of al Shabab, he told them that he chained them up because many of them were skipping classes.

Al Shabab chains its suicide bombers
Al Shabab chains its suicide bombers

All students in this particular center were held against their will just like the general Somali society by foreign men with foreign twisted ideologies. The kids were also brainwashed and told if they blew themselves that they would enter Paradise.

It is not clear how many similar kids blew themselves for al Shabab, perhaps with many first chained up then chained to explosives.

The Somali government has been raiding suspecious centers for the last two months arresting more than 500 al Shabab suspects in the operations.

This is the first time the world has seen how al Qaeda and al Shabab possibly recruit their suicide bombers. The teacher was taken into custody for further investigation.

The government has advised all parents to keep an eye on their children and to closely monitor their education facilities. They urged anyone with information about al Shabab suspects to contact the government.


July 22, 2012